World AM News Briefs For Friday, 13 October 2017
Good Morning Australia!! - Another day of Donald Trump and crew doing rotten things for rotten reasons - US Lawmakers want the truth about Puerto Rico's hurricane damage - How Twitter missed the mark in the wake of Weinstein - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
In the disingenuous political stunt of the day, the Trump administration announced it was pulling the US out of UNESCO, the United Nations World Heritage organization it helped found after World War II. Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claim this is because of an anti-Israel bias, and Israel a few hours later announced it too would leave UNESCO. Israel is upset over UNESCO's recent votes that seem to deliberately overlook Jewish connections to Holy and historic sites in the country.
But that's not the whole story: Foreign Policy magazine reported that Washington was actually more than US$500 Million in arrears to UNESCO and was at risk of losing its voting rights - implying that Tillerson pulled the plug to save money and save face on the world stage. Either way, "Trump pulled US out of UNESCO," said US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. "Making it clear that culture, history, world heritage isn't important to him, even if it is to Americans and (the) world."
Donald Trump for some reason threatened to cut off emergency aid for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, complaining that it cannot continue "forever". Which is despicable in itself, but made worse by the fact that the US government doesn't seem to have done a damned thing for its own people in the Caribbean Sea. More than 80 percent of Puerto Rico is still without power, three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit - and a third of the island's American residents do not yet have access to clean water. That has led to four people dying from a dirty water bacterial disease known as
Actor and director Rose McGowan's Twitter account has been restored, after a stunningly tone-deaf dick move by the social media company: Twitter initially suspended her access after she told actor Ben Affleck to "F**k off" when he denied knowing about sex harassment allegations against his friend producer Harvey Weinstein. She reminded him of the time they discussed it before hurling the epithet. McGowan, who negotiated a US$100,000 out of court settlement from Weinstein after he sexually abused her, took the suspension notice and posted it on rival social network Instagram. "THERE ARE POWERFUL FORCES AT WORK. BE MY VOICE," McGowan exhorted in all caps; International condemnation for twitter followed, and it backed down.
As more women come forward to say they were harassed or even sexually assaulted by Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, police departments in the US and UK are investigating potential criminal conduct. London Metropolitan police are investigating an "alleged sexual assault in the London area in the 1980s". The New York City Police Department said it was "looking to speak" to an individual who had made an allegation dating from 2004; but, "No filed complaints have been identified as of this time," said an official. Weinstein has "unequivocally denied" allegations of non-consensual sex.
The entire city of Calistoga, California has been ordered to evacuate because of the unrelenting Wine Country Wildfires north of San Francisco. The death toll is now 27 lives lost; somewhere around 500 people are still unaccounted for; and thousands of homes, buildings, and even wineries have been burned - so have dozens of pot farms. The soot and particulate matter is disrupting air traffic at San Francisco International Airport.
Austria (small, mountainous, and Kangaroo-free) is about to take leave of its senses. Polls predict that the far-right and ironically-named "Freedom Party" (FPO) - the six decade old grand-daddy of xenophobic European far right movement - is poised to make big gains in this weekend's election. It could be in a position to form a coalition with the traditional conservative People's Party, which is expected to get the most votes. However, the leader of the People's Party says the FPO would have to abandon its Euro-skeptism first.
Loonytoons Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte accused the European Union of trying to get his country tossed out of the UN - not sure how - and threatened to expel European diplomats. Duterte offered no evidence to back-up his profanity-laced claim. It appears what Duterte thought was the EU was actually a group calling itself "International Delegates of the Progressive Alliance", consisting of representatives from Australia, Sweden, Germany, Italy, and the US. And it's still not clear what his beef with the group could be.
Eleven people have pleaded guilty to possessing banned plastic bags in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa. Environmental officials arrested the group two days ago, and it included street vendors selling fruit and sugarcane in the banned bagged. Kenya outlawed plastic bags because they don't biodegrade and pollute the environment - several wild animals were found to have choked to death on them. This first group of prosecutions were let go without a fine or jail time, but future defendants likely will not get off so lucky. The punishment could go up to $45,000 in fines and four years in prison for anyone caught manufacturing or selling plastic shopping bags.